2016 State Budget Key Educational Issues
The May Revision of the state budget plan keeps the promise to California’s students. Our schools and colleges are still recovering from the severe economic downturn that slashed education funding, and it was made clear in the Governor’s May Revision that unless we pass the ballot initiative to maintain the income tax rates on California’s […]
The May Revision of the state budget plan keeps the promise to California’s students. Our schools and colleges are still recovering from the severe economic downturn that slashed education funding, and it was made clear in the Governor’s May Revision that unless we pass the ballot initiative to maintain the income tax rates on California’s wealthiest, the state faces a $4 billion deficit and a $4 billion cut to education.
We appreciate the Governor’s ongoing commitment to public education funding, but our schools, students and colleges can’t afford to go back to the days of massive teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and tuition hikes. The increased funding for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) brings the formula to 95.7 percent of full implementation. The money going to Proposition 98 is funding that is owed to our schools and students, mandated by law, and helps keep us on the road to recovery. Our fellow educators, students, and communities are counting on lawmakers to protect the integrity of Prop. 98. We also support one-time discretionary funding which aids with the implementation of numerous programs, including the state-adopted academic standards and resources to help with the critical teacher shortage we face as a state.
· At a time when there is a critical teacher shortage in California, CTA supports the May Revision proposal that provides $10 million General Fund one-time investment for grants to California Higher Education instructors to improve upon or develop four-year integrated teacher credential programs. Grants of up to $250,000 would provide the higher education institutions funding to create or improve blended programs. This is just one step to promote individuals to enter the teaching profession.
Emergency Repair Revolving Loan Program
· The May Revision proposes $100 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding to establish bridge loan program to help schools with temporary funding. Specifically, these funds are proposed to address “emergency facility needs.” In order to qualify, a school would have to provide independent verification that the school site has been deemed unsuitable for occupation and the school would have to self-certify that no alternative facilities are available to educate the displaced students. CTA opposes the use of Proposition 98 funds for this purpose. Funding should be paid out of the general fund so as to not reduce the available funds for instruction.
Early Education Block Grant
· The May Revision of the budget provides more detail about the Governor’s proposal to consolidate state-subsidized early learning programs into a $1.6 billion Early Education Block Grant. Existing programs including Transitional Kindergarten and state preschools will be collapsed into a new program. While this proposal seems to be well intended because it targets our neediest children, the funding is inadequate and fails to provide room for growth. Without appropriate requirements of quality instruction to meet the needs of the whole child and the lack of resources, school districts will struggle to choose between increasing the number of slots for children and providing the quality program that is needed.
· Governor’s $200 Million Strong Workforce Program: Support
o CTA supports the Governor’s proposed funding for a Strong Workforce program to close the middle-skills gap by increasing and improving the career technical education provided within the community colleges. We want assurance that the money provided is actually going to the students and the actual program components that help the students, not to administrative costs.
· Part-Time Faculty Categoricals: Support Increase in Funding
o Part-time categorical funds for office hours, health care and parity have not been made whole. Part-time faculty are important to our students and we need to support them in the work they do. Many still do not have health benefits, which we know contributes to their ability to teach effectively. Office hours are essential, especially for basic skills students to have access to their instructors beyond class time.
California State University
· CTA is advocating for an additional $100 million from the general fund above the Governor’s January proposal. This would allow for 3 percent growth in enrollment, which equates to roughly 10,700 Full-Time Equivalent students (FTEs). This investment will help to make the dream of a college degree a reality for more California students.